Russia-brokered Karabakh deal incomprehensive, short-sighted – analyst

The Russia brokered deal over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh does not offer a sustainable comprehensive peace agreement, and fails to address the future status of the landlocked region in the South Caucasus, wrote retired U.S. ambassador Carey Cavanaugh in the Moscow Times on Friday.

The opportunity for a solution through diplomacy has been squandered in Nagorno-Karabakh, Cavanaugh wrote, pointing to better arrangements, which would have been attainable through diplomacy years ago.

The truce, announced on Nov. 9, calls for the deployment of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to the disputed enclave, with Azerbaijan receiving significant territorial concessions from an Armenian-backed local government following a six-week war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that killed thousands and displaced over 130,000 people.

“A sustainable comprehensive agreement can only be achieved at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield. And at this point the OSCE Minsk Group remains the accepted mediation forum,” the former ambassador wrote, noting that France and the United States were not part of the last-minute negotiations. 

The Minsk Group, formed to mediate the conflict and led by France, Russia and the United States, has held talks between the warring sides for three decades.

The new Moscow agreement provides only a partial solution that was crafted “against the backdrop of active warfare,” Cavanaugh said, and does not address future status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Both sides in the conflict have long held maximalist positions, he continued, and were not ready to embrace genuine compromise solutions, leading to the loss of “thousands of lives, billions of dollars spent on arms, decades of lost growth and prosperity,” for both countries.